Should You Eat More Often for a Better Metabolism?

Should You Eat More Often for a Better Metabolism?


Can you trust your hunger or should you schedule your meals?

You may have heard that eating 6 small meals per day will boost your metabolism and help you lose weight. Or maybe the exact opposite – that fasting is great for weight loss.  

There is a lot of confusion about meal frequency in the health and fitness industry.

But don’t worry – there’s one rule to rule them all.

The number one rule of meal frequency

The best number of meals a day for you is whatever it takes to meet your nutritional needs. Here’s what that means…

What you eat –  which macronutrients –  and how much you eat matters more than how often you eat. 

Some people find it easier to eat  three  times. Others are able to better adjust the amount of food they eat if it is spread out in smaller meals so they never get hungry. That’s why the right number of meals for you is whatever is the easiest to meet your nutritional needs throughout the day. Simple as that.

Why?

The fact is:

If you want to lose fat or gain weight the most important thing is to adjust your calorie intake accordingly.

Remember, eating smaller meals won’t speed up your weight loss if the calories stay the same. And here’s why…

Your meal timing and metabolism questions answered

Will eating small meals often speed up your weight loss?

It is a fact that meal digestion increases your metabolic rate. But, it depends on the amount of calories and not how often you eat. Eating 900 calories in three small meals or just one big meal doesn’t make a difference.(1) As long as calories stay the same, eating more often won’t make a significant difference for weight loss, according to research.

Does skipping meals cause “starvation mode” that stops you from losing weight?

When you eat less, your metabolism has less to digest. So, restricting your calories will slow down your metabolic rate, whether you skip meals or not. But – a slower metabolic rate is most likely not the reason why your weight loss stalled. . Actually, your weight loss will naturally slow down once you have less to lose. It doesn’t mean you are in “starvation mode” and have to eat more often.

This common myth causes people to eat more and sabotage their diets. (Exceptions include conditions like anorexia and rare diseases such as marasmus.)

“Starving yourself” with a severe caloric restriction is not advised for health reasons beyond weight management, such as malnutrition that could lead to other serious health issues.

Should you eat right after your workout if you want to gain muscle?

If your goal is to build muscle, there are a couple of scientifically proven tips to increase muscle protein synthesis.(3) Consuming high-quality protein up to 2 hours after your workout can help muscle recovery and gain. For optimal gains, you should consider eating 20-40g of protein (0.25–0.40 g/kg body mass/dose) approximately every 4 hours. If you are not exercising, the timing is not crucial and you should care most about the total protein intake per day to build more muscle.

Still, you might be left wondering – are there any reasons why you should eat more or less often?

Should you eat more or less often?

Consider eating less often if…

  • The “smaller meals approach” is complicated for you
  • You want to think less about food but still stick to your planned calories
  • You can’t lose weight even by restricting calories
  • You have digestive problems – a longer break between meals gives your body a chance to digest food completely

Looking for a change? Intermittent fasting can be a great way to lose weight and/or spend less time on food planning.

Is it safe to experiment with intermittent fasting?

In general, yes. But it’s not advised if you are younger than 18, pregnant, diabetic, underweight, or have had an eating disorder.

Consider eating more often (4 or more meals a day) if…

  • You want to gain weight but can’t eat so many calories in one meal
  • You have a very active job and high calorie demands
  • You are an athlete and need specific nutrient timing around your workouts
  • You feel “hangry” (hungry + angry) all the time (maybe you should try foods that keep you full longer?)

Key takeaways

  • There is no magical number of meals a day that will work for everyone. Trust your hunger – if you like to eat smaller meals more frequently, then go for it. If not, feel free to eat less often.
  • You don’t have to force yourself to eat on a schedule, but it would be good to create a habit of eating the same number of meals each day. Why? According to research, meal irregularity can have negative effects on your health. Whether it’s 2 meals, 3 meals, 6 meals a day – try to choose a number of meals that you can stick to most days of the week.
  • Don’t forget the number one rule: the best number of meals for you depends on what your body needs to meet your goals.

Not sure how much macronutrients you need? Use the protein intake calculator and carb calculator to find out what is the optimal amount for your goals!

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The Top 12 Foods in a Heart Healthy Diet

The Top 12 Foods in a Heart Healthy Diet


People with high blood pressure or atherosclerosis rarely have any symptoms. They can go for a long time thinking their heart is fine. Then suddenly, they feel a sharp pain in their chest. If their doctor tells them that there’s a problem with their heart or cholesterol level, they’re likely to change their lifestyle. Unfortunately, a lifestyle change is usually not enough, and they’ll have to take medication. If only they had started paying attention to their cardiovascular health earlier…

In fact, if you make healthy changes early enough, you can improve your heart health. Start including the right foods in a heart-healthy diet now. We’ll tell you the top 12 foods that are good for your heart. 

Which Foods are Good for Your Heart?

1. Fatty fish

Fatty fish (e.g., mackerel, herring, trout, or sardines) are high in omega-3 fatty acids. These vital fatty acids have immense benefits for your cardiovascular system. They can even help prevent heart disease.(1) Including these types of fish in your diet regularly can also reduce your cholesterol by increasing the “good” cholesterol (HDL). 

2. Kale

Kale (and other green leafy vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard) is packed with vitamins and minerals. One of those is vitamin K, which is important for your heart health.(2) A meta-analysis including eight studies showed that the regular consumption of green leafy vegetables could reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by almost 16%.(3

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes produce a secondary metabolite called lycopene. This is an antioxidant that can reduce inflammation in the body.(4) Antioxidants have a powerful effect on reducing LDL cholesterol, which is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Lycopene-rich foods lower LDL levels and increase beneficial HDL cholesterol in the blood.  

4. Avocado

Studies show that eating avocados regularly can have a positive effect on your HDL cholesterol.(5) This is due to their high monounsaturated fat content. 

5. Legumes

Legumes are the real deal. These superfoods not only regulate your blood sugar and keep your digestion working smoothly, but they are also an important part of a heart-healthy diet. Lentils, beans, chickpeas, and other legumes reduce your blood pressure and cholesterol and also help decrease inflammation in your body.(6) Try to include legumes in your diet at least four times a week. 

6. Berries

Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These are considered some of the healthiest foods you can eat; plus, they can help prevent cardiovascular disease.(7)

7. Whole Grain Foods

Fiber is a very important component in a heart-healthy diet. Whole grain products are high in fiber and, as a result, lower your LDL cholesterol, which is a risk factor for heart disease.(8) Try to include whole grain foods in your diet on a daily basis, such as brown rice, quinoa, oats, whole grain pasta, or whole grain bread.

8. Nuts

Walnuts are an excellent source of healthy micronutrients for your heart and brain.(9) However, don’t forget about other kinds of nuts like hazelnuts, almonds, and cashews, which also have a protective effect. Eat a handful of nuts each day for a healthy heart.

9. Seeds

Like nuts, many types of seeds are great for your heart. These include flax seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and hemp seeds. High in antioxidants, these seeds improve your circulation while also reducing blood pressure and cholesterol.(10)

10. Olive oil

Olive oil is a staple food in the Mediterranean diet. There are plenty of reasons this is considered one of the healthiest foods in the world. The antioxidants and monounsaturated fatty acids in olive oil protect your heart (look for extra virgin and cold-pressed).(11)

Important!

Olive oil should not be heated, which means don’t use it for sautéeing or frying. Drizzle it over tomatoes with mozzarella and basil or a crisp salad instead.

11. Garlic 

Garlic is another important part of a heart-healthy diet. The compound allicin lowers cholesterol and blood pressure; plus it has positive results in the treatment of atherosclerosis.(12)

12. Dark chocolate

No, you’re not dreaming. Chocolate with a high cocoa content (at least 70%) can protect your heart. Studies show that dark chocolate can reduce the risk of hardening of the arteries.(13) It’s all about the amount here; try to keep your intake moderate (~ 15g), considering the high fat and sugar content. 

Takeaway

One of the best things you can do for your cardiovascular health is to eat a balanced diet loaded with a wide variety of healthy foods. Keep your heart strong by staying physically active and limiting alcohol consumption, animal fats and salt, and quitting smoking. 

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Relieve Sore Muscles: 7 Foods that Help

Relieve Sore Muscles: 7 Foods that Help


It’s important to stretch, warm up, and cool down if you want to avoid or relieve sore muscles the day after your workout. But don’t forget that proper nutrition also plays a major role. Which foods and drinks relieve sore muscles?

7 Foods and Drinks for Sore Muscles

1. Beetroot

Drinking 250 ml of beet juice right after an intense workout can reduce muscle soreness.(1) Beets are rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients. How about a red beet smoothie after your workout? It promotes muscle regeneration.

Red beet juice

Ingredients for one serving:

  • 75 g red beets (pre-cooked)
  • 1 apple
  • thumb-sized piece of ginger
  • 150 ml carrot juice

Directions:

  1. Chop the beet and apple into chunks.
  2. Peel the ginger.
  3. Add all ingredients to a blender and purée until smooth. 

2. Caffeine

An espresso before your workout can improve performance. But is caffeine good for sore muscles, too? Studies show that athletes are less prone to suffer from muscle soreness and aches post-workout when drinking caffeine before their training.(2)

Cup of coffee

3. Sour cherries

Relieve sore muscles by drinking 1.5 oz of cherry juice both before and after your workout. Thanks to the juice’s anti-inflammatory effects and antioxidants, your muscles will recover more quickly.(3)

4. Ginger

Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties. The effects of gingerol, the active component responsible for the sting, are similar to those of the active agent contained in aspirin. If you eat ginger regularly, especially on days you work out, you can reduce muscle soreness.(4)

Ginger

5. Tomato juice

The carotenoids in tomato juice can prevent muscle soreness.(5) Drink this before your workout. 

Tomato juice

6. Fish

The omega-3 fatty acids contained in fish promote muscle recovery and healing.(6)

Fish plate

Good to know:

Do you follow a vegan diet? order to prevent a deficiency in omega 3 fatty acids, you should add supplements to your diet. These days you can find plant-based dietary supplements derived from algae. Check with your doctor or nutritionist.

7. green tea

The phytochemicals in green tea (polyphenols) stimulate blood circulation, which has a positive influence on muscle regeneration. This is a great drink for sore muscles(7)

In Summary

After a tough HIIT workout or a long run, it’s not unusual to experience muscle aches. Include these foods and drinks in your meals and snacks to relieve sore muscles. Don’t forget to take a day off if you’re in a lot of pain. Or, focus on a different muscle group. Your muscles need time to recover.

Other posts you might like: 

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Benefits of Matcha Green Tea

Benefits of Matcha Green Tea


Matcha green tea has been around for about a thousand years. And if you haven’t tried it yet, it’s time. That might have you wondering: what is matcha, anyway? Is it different from plain old green tea? If so, is it better?

If you’ve ever wondered about any of those things, you’ve come to the right place. Since matcha is a key ingredient in Pep Rally, our new energy boost, I wanted to do a deep dive. Ready? Let’s go!

Matcha 101

First, let’s talk about the common confusion between green tea and matcha. To clear it up, let’s start with the basics. Matcha is a specific type of green tea. That means that all matcha is green tea, but not all green tea is matcha.

Because matcha is specially grown and processed, the nutrients in the tea leaves are more potent and you get more of that leaf in your drink. Basically, matcha’s a more effective vehicle for getting the goodness of green tea (think: caffeine and antioxidants) into your system.

What makes matcha so great

Let’s be clear here: all green tea is great for you. Matcha just gives you some of the benefits in a higher concentration. Here are a few of my favorite things about matcha:

It’s loaded with antioxidants

Matcha has more antioxidants than other forms of green tea. This basically means it gives your cells more resources to fight damage, helping your body stay healthy and prevent chronic conditions, cancer, and more. 

It gives you a natural energy boost

Because matcha is more concentrated than green tea, it delivers more caffeine. For reference, an eight-ounce cup of normal green tea has about 28 mg of caffeine. That’s basically half of what black tea has and about a quarter of the caffeine content you’d find in an eight-ounce cup of coffee. Truthfully, I can drink a cup of green tea and not feel the energy boost at all unless I really pay attention.

Matcha is different, though. It can pack in twice as much caffeine as green tea or, depending on the preparation, even more. In Pep Rally, you’re getting 80 mg of caffeine per serving. But because you’re getting it from a natural source, you don’t have to worry about jitters or any of the other junk that can come with a lot of the caffeinated products on the market today. 

In fact, matcha also contains an ingredient that can directly combat that edge that comes with other forms of caffeine: L-theanine.

It delivers L-theanine

Remember how I said that shading the green tea leaves during the end of the growing process made them create more amino acids? This is the amino acid we’re talking about. L-theanine is a pretty powerful tool that can help improve focus and productivity. Specifically, this amino acid can:

  • Help you fight stress and keep your blood pressure stable even when you’re in stressful situations
  • Improve your focus
  • Support immune health

It’s a power player in Pep Rally

For all of these reasons, we pretty much had to put matcha in Pep Rally. As part of the Pep squad, it helps you get that long-lasting, jitter-free natural energy boost, plus more focus, better fat burning, and improved athletic performance. If you want to crush your next workout or you’re in need of a pick-me-up, call in the Pep Rally! 

Our new boost gives you what you need with natural sources (like matcha) so you can feel good not just in the moment, but in general. Ditch the energy drinks and pre-workout and give yourself the boost you need with Pep Rally!





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How Much Caffeine is Too Much??

How Much Caffeine is Too Much??


It’s def possible to have too much caffeine. On top of that, certain situations — like coffee on an empty stomach — can give caffeine a bad rap, even when it’s really the other things at play causing the problems. 

All this said, I’m pro caffeine, just in moderation. Too much caffeine is going to literally jack you up, especially consuming too much at one time. But how much is too much? I’ve got you, girl.

Your recommended daily dose of caffeine

The FDA says people shouldn’t have more than 400 mg of caffeine each day. That’s roughly equal to four eight-ounce cups of coffee. 

Note that we’re saying eight-ounce cups. That’s pretty small. And if you opt for an energy drink, be extra careful. A lot of options can have as much as 250 mg of caffeine in one eight-ounce serving. 

Is going over that cap really a big deal? If you only do it every once in a while, probably not. But if you do it too much, you risk caffeine toxicity.

Plus, even a single day with too much caffeine can leave you with some pretty unwelcome side effects.

Side effects of excess caffeine

No surprise here: one of the main issues with too much caffeine is sleep problems. Besides insomnia, though, too much caffeine can cause:

  • Jitters
  • Anxiousness
  • Dehydration
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart palpitations
  • An upset stomach
  • Heartburn

Clearly, too much caffeine can cause a bunch of problems that leave you feeling way worse than you started. You’d probably didn’t want to trade that tiredness for the side effect you’re feeling, right?

To help you avoid these nasty side effects, I recommend:

  • Mixing in other stuff with caffeine. Consider what you consume along with your caffeine. I love matcha green tea because it has caffeine, but it also has L-theanine, which has a calming effect. Or you could always add some ashwagandha into the mix to ward off jitters. 
  • Timing your consumption. When you have coffee or tea on an empty stomach, it can upset your digestive system. If you start your day with caffeine, eat something with it. This could be as simple as a quick shake with our protein powder or a banana. Then, mind your caffeine intake at night. It can take your body as long as six hours to metabolize even half of the caffeine you’ve consumed. If you’ve been having sleep problems, you might be able to blame your afternoon consumption. Some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others, so pay attention. If cutting out caffeine after noon helps you get good sleep, that’s well worth it. 
  • Avoiding too much at once. Too much caffeine can literally be toxic. And even when you don’t reach potentially health-hazardous levels, a lot all at once is often behind the jitters or nausea. Stick with about 75-160 mg at a time. That’s roughly one or two eight-ounce cups of coffee. Wait for about half an hour and see how you feel. If you’re still pooped, you can always have more. But there’s no way to undo too much caffeine other than to wait it out (yikes). 
  • Getting smart about where your caffeine comes from. Some caffeine sources (looking at you, energy drinks and pre-workout) have so much that your risk for side effects is already super high. To give your body a boost without having to pay for it, look to natural caffeine sources like matcha green tea, smaller cups of coffee, or our NEW! Pep Rally Energy Boost!

Just the right amount of Pep!

We created Pep Rally so you could get caffeine from some of the best natural sources out there. Our new boost has 80 mg of caffeine per scoop so it’ll put some pep in your step without jitters or any of that junk. If you’re really needing to pump it up, you could do two scoops for 160 mg of caffeine. Even then, you won’t be exchanging tiredness for other side effects. In fact, Pep Rally also contains an amino acid called L-theanine that specifically combats anxiousness and stress! 

On top of that, we’ve packed it with other key natural ingredients for long-lasting energy like:

Basically, it’s a healthier way to enjoy caffeine. So whenever you need it, summon the Pep Rally





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Katie’s Top 5 Tips for Boosting Energy Naturally

Katie’s Top 5 Tips for Boosting Energy Naturally


Sometimes we find ourselves in need of a little pick-me-up. I get it! We all have those days. 

Maybe you’ve had a long week or you didn’t sleep great last night. Maybe your hormones are throwing you off. You could be stressed, traveling, under a tight deadline, or not getting the nutrients your body needs from your diet.

There are pretty much a million things that could be making you feel tired. So if you’re looking for a way to fight your tiredness and boost your energy naturally, add these things to your arsenal.

#1: Eat a nutritious diet

Your body is a complicated system and it needs a lot to keep it functioning at its best. If you’re filling it with junk like sugar or alcohol, it’s going to make you pay for it, usually with fatigue. And if you’re not getting the nutrients you need from your diet, the same is true. Making bad food choices is like putting only a tiny bit of gas in your car — and then expecting it to make a major road trip. 

You might already know that I recommend eating whole foods above everything else. The closer you can get to the natural source, the better. That means choosing food with limited processing and added ingredients — and loading up your plate with lots of fruits and veggies. If you’re not quite sure what you should be eating to feel like your best, most energized self, I can help. All of my nutrition plans include meals that will supply your system with the nutrients it needs. And when you need a quick and easy way to get more goodness in, you know you can always turn to our LSF Plant Protein.

#2: Get Pep (Rally) in your step!

We all have days where you need a pick-me-up. I mean, I do!

That’s why I made our newest boost, Pep Rally! I teamed up all the natural energy-boosting powerhouses, like matcha and ginseng, to give you a pep in your step when you need it most. I can’t wait for you to try it!

#3: Move that body, girl!

A sedentary lifestyle (that basically means sitting around a lot) makes you feel even more sluggish. You don’t have to take my word for it. Studies show that getting moving on a regular basis can decrease your fatigue by 65%. That’s a pretty big drop!

My general recommendation is to get 30 minutes of exercise with the LSF App five or six days a week. But I know that if you haven’t been moving much, that can sound like a lot. Don’t be afraid to ease yourself in. Even 10 minutes a day can still do wonders — and I legit have the Daily 10 for this purpose. Getting moving can be way easier than you might think. A brisk walk around your neighborhood counts. So does literally any workout from our LSF App, which means you can choose whatever sounds good to you on any given day! Plus, we’ve got a seven-day free trial so you can see what you think. Try it out!

#4: Get enough sleep

If you want to feel energized during the day, you NEED to recharge your battery at night. And that means getting a good night’s rest. Most of us need at least seven solid hours every night so our body can do all of its important overnight work

You probably already know that getting enough sleep is important for your body and your mind. The trick, of course, is actually getting that sleep. If falling asleep or staying asleep is hard for you, check out Slumber Party, our sleep boost. She’s packed with stuff to help you drift off to dreamland and wake up feeling refreshed.

#5: Control your stress

Stress takes its toll, literally. When your body is continually dealing with high levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, it causes lasting fatigue. Plus, stress can make it harder to sleep, worsening the problem! 

If you’ve been feeling wound up lately, meet Miss Congeniality, our mood-boosting stress buster. We’ve combined a bunch of natural but powerful ingredients to help take the edge off so you can feel better. 

See? There’s a lot you can do to give yourself a boost when you need it without resorting to that fourth cup of coffee or an energy drink. I am SO excited to have you all try Pep Rally for that pick-me-up you need!





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